Grief comes in waves.
At least for me it does. It's not a pressing weight that's constantly on my heart, it's a sharp stab that comes from behind and catches me off guard. One minute I'm fine, thinking that we've moved past all of this and we're healing and then it hits me. I don't get to feel a baby kicking. I don't get to count down to holding that sweet child in my arms. I don't get to know who he or she is, what they like/dislike, who they look like. And it almost seems like too much to bear.
Sunday was actually a rough day. Reliving this over and over with friends who care about what we've gone through was trying on my emotions. I wanted to be able to make it through each conversation without tears burning my eyes. I wanted to be able to share and encourage without feeling my stomach tighten in knots. The lumps in my throat seemed to choke most of my words and I found myself saying over and over again "It's just weird... but God has been so good to us."
The strange thing was hearing over and over from women "I've been so encouraged by you." Most started by saying "I read your blog" and instantly my chest tightened when I thought back to the words that poured out of my heart onto the keyboard. But that the Lord would use this to encourage others has been one of the good things that has come from this. In fact, even though it's only been a few weeks, I've already seen how good this has been for my own walk with the Lord and for my relationship with Brian.
It helped to talk to women who have been through this. Most had lost their babies early in their pregnancy but I don't think that changes much. Maybe our guards were down because we felt we were past the danger zone of the first trimester but from the moment you see those 2 pink lines on the stick, you are hooked and having that taken away from you is heartbreaking no matter how much time passes.
But hopefully the waves slow down. Hopefully they come few and far between. Not that I will ever forget this child, but that with time, I will be able to make it through my story with a strong voice and words of hope and encouragement that God brought us through this and it is only by His grace that we are the better for it.
On Sunday night we were heading to the Christmas concert at church and I helped Allie zip up her boot. You would've thought that I just snapped her arm in half. She sobbed and sobbed because she wanted to zip the boot up. I calmly told her that she needed to control her emotions and stop crying. 20 minutes and a discipline session later, she was still sobbing and bursting with tears and I was losing my patience -- this approach seemed to be making matters worse. So Brian took her into his arms and whispered to her "What do you need?"
"I just want to cry."
And she did. He held her and stroked her hair while she cried about her boot. It only lasted about a minute before she jumped up excited to go to church. I am so grateful to have a husband who is surrounded by females and knows exactly how to deal with them. How many times have I needed to just sob into his chest and he's there for me? Even though, to me, her problems seemed insignificant, he recognized that she just needed to let out those emotions that were overflowing in her heart.
I think as women we're trained to think that emotions are a bad thing. The world says being emotional shows weakness. But I think that we are uniquely blessed with this gift of emotions. We feel compassion. We feel sadness and pain. We feel deeply because that is who God made us to be.
Do those emotions need to be controlled? Of course! There is a time to weep and a time to laugh and sometimes, you do just need a good cry. We shouldn't drown out those feelings of compassion or pity or sympathy. Hannah wept bitterly. Even Jesus wept. And as she grows, Allie will come to understand that there are heavier things than not being able to zip up her boot and hopefully we'll teach her to control the emotions that spring from not getting her way.
But I hope to be an example to her of someone who isn't afraid of shedding tears for the right reasons. Like when I'm reading a story to her about the 3 trees; one becomes the manger Jesus is laid in, one becomes the boat He calms the storm in, and one becomes the cross. I can't even make it through the end of the book without crying but to me, that evokes the greatest emotions of all. That Christ would die for me brings such overwhelming emotion to my soul that I can't help but well up with tears.
There definitely has to be a balance in how we're dealing with Allie and teaching her to honor God with her emotions. I don't think we've figured it out yet though. There are days when I still cry over my own "boot" scenarios. But this collection of articles from Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters has been a great help in this area and I'm hoping that someday both Allie and I will have learned to honor God with our emotions.